• synonyms


or ep·au·lette

[ep-uh-let, -lit, ep-uh-let]
  1. an ornamental shoulder piece worn on uniforms, chiefly by military officers.
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Origin of epaulet

1775–85; < French épaulette, equivalent to épaule shoulder (< Latin spatula blade; see spatula) + -ette -ette
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for epaulettes

Historical Examples

  • Glad enough, I suppose, you 'll be to win your epaulettes as colonel.

    Tom Burke Of "Ours", Volume I (of II)

    Charles James Lever

  • "Like an officer stripped of his epaulettes," Billy murmured.

  • With him were three or four others in the same rig, except the epaulettes.

  • The Emperor sighed, shrugged his shoulders, adorned with epaulettes.

  • He tore off General Milhaud's epaulettes, which he flung into Foy's face.


    William Makepeace Thackeray

Word Origin and History for epaulettes



1783, from French épaulette (16c.), diminutive of épaule "shoulder," from Old French espaule (12c.), from Latin spatula "flat piece of wood, splint," later "shoulder blade," diminutive of spatha "broad wooden instrument, broad sword," from Greek spathe "a broad flat sword" (see spade (n.1)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper